15 Skills That Set Up Entrepreneurs for Success

Q: What is the #1 skill an entrepreneur must possess to succeed?

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC recently published #FixYoungAmerica: How to Rebuild Our Economy and Put Young Americans Back to Work (for Good), a book of 30+ proven solutions to help end youth unemployment.

1. Perseverance


Cash will run low, clients won't close, team members will leave, the product will have bugs, and the roof will fall on your head. There will be times when you seriously consider quitting. I've been there. But perseverance and dumbfounded self-confidence pushed me forward. Without perseverance, you'll never reach success.
Jun LoayzaRewardMe

2. Vision Communication

Nathalie LussierFirst, an entrepreneur must have the vision, and then he or she must be able to communicate it. The communication will be to their team and employees, to their customers and clients, and even to outside sources like potential investors, sponsors, and collaborators.
Nathalie LussierNathalie Lussier Media

3. Persistence

Logan LenzEntrepreneurs, by definition, fail; it's the ones that fail the least that are the most successful. The ones that never give up and are fueled by defeat are the entrepreneurs that succeed the next time around.
Logan LenzEndagon

4. Sales Skills

Greg RollettEntrepreneurs need to know how to sell. Everything they do in their business revolves around selling and persuasion: you are selling your company to investors and new hires, selling your product to buyers, selling and persuading your team to perform at a high level, selling yourself and your dreams to the media. If you can't sell, you will not succeed as an entrepreneur.
Greg RollettThe ProductPros

5. Asking Abilities

Jeff SlobotskiEntrepreneurs wishing to succeed in life need to understand their progress will be limited by not learning to ask for what they want. Whether it is mentorship, funding, an explanation or more, the answer is always "no" unless you ask. The sooner an entrepreneur understands this key lesson, the sooner they'll experience all that the journey has to offer.
Jeff SlobotskiSilicon Prairie News

6. Selective Focus

TTrevor Mauchhis answer comes from personal experience, both my successes and struggles and those of other entrepreneurs I know. Definitely the top skill is the ability to focus on the "right" things. Once we get the freedom that comes with being an entrepreneur, it's way too easy to work on a bunch of different things, which leads to mediocre results on everything. Focus on one thing and kick butt with it.
Trevor MauchAutomize, LLC

7. Passion Is a Skill!

Steven Le VineThe one skill an entrepreneur must possess is passion. If you are truly passionate about what you do, everything else will come naturally. You will persevere when times are rough, in order to protect your business. You will never give up, because you will know it is your calling. And money won't be the sole focus of your efforts, allowing for your authenticity to shine through.
Steven Le Vinegrapevine pr

8. Love for the Hustle

Derek ShanahanI think the ability to hustle embodies a few qualities that are integral to surviving and succeeding as an entrepreneur. To me, hustle is a special blend of motivation, persistence, passion, and persuasive powers that serve entrepreneurs well as they navigate markets, investors, team building, and the various challenges they face as they seek success.
Derek ShanahanFoodtree

9. Solve the Problems!

Tim Jahn

As an entrepreneur, you're going to be faced with problem after problem, and you're going to need to be able to find creative solutions that keep you moving forward. Without the ability to problem solve, you'll be stuck from the get go.
Tim JahnEntrepreneurs Unpluggd

10. Be Tenacious

Doreen-blochWhether you're looking to recruit a superstar new team member or starting to make a sale, the #1 skill you need as an entrepreneur is tenacity. There will be so many times that people say "no" or "maybe later," and you need the fire in your belly to stay persuasive, smart and tenacious. If you have that quality, you will succeed at anything to which you put your mind and energy.
Doreen BlochPoshly Inc.

11. A Story Worth Telling

Michael Margolis

Entrepreneurs are literally creating something out of nothing. In order to inspire, motivate, and attract others to your vision, you need to be able to tell a compelling story. Frame the context. Set the stakes. Make it meaningful. Everyone from customers to employees and investors — they all want a story to believe in.
Michael MargolisGet Storied

12. Flexibility

FlexibilityAs an entrepreneur, it’s essential to be flexible in all aspects of your business. If something isn’t working, you often need to change direction quickly or else your company might not last much longer.
Heather HuhmanCome Recommended

13. Execution

Erica NicoleIdeation and strategy are important. However, they're worthless without the ability to tactically execute on them. Execution is the most important skill that an entrepreneur can possess. Not only will it impact your success rate, but iteration will eliminate fear and set you up for success. Like most successful entrepreneurs I find that "the harder you work, the luckier you get."
Erica NicoleYFS Magazine: Young, Fabulous & Self Employed

14. Resilience

Lauren PerkinsResilience! You’re going to get knocked down often building and running a startup. The ability to bounce back and do so quickly is important for any entrepreneur, and one that has been essential to my own success.
Lauren PerkinsPerks Consulting

15. Innovation

David-gardnerThe playing field is always changing and evolving. Things will be possible tomorrow that are not possible today. In order to innovate, entrepreneurs must possess open eyes, open ears, and most importantly, an open mind.
David GardnerColorJar